New to Triathlons, what bike and equipment to get?

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27/08/2013 at 22:52

Hi all I do marathons but want to get into Triathlons, first question is the bike, whats a good basic bike to get me into it, that can be used for competitions too, not too expensive but want that  wont render me on mission impossible in the cycle stage with weight or just too damn cheap.


Also what other equipment I may need thanks, looking to do things like the recent London Triathlon.


Thanks guys

28/08/2013 at 08:42

Have a look at they do several different packages with the basic equipment. The price difference is just because of a different bike so it just depends how much you want to spend.

Bouncing Barlist    pirate
28/08/2013 at 10:10

What you need and whats worth spending depends on how likely you are to stick at it. 

If its a case of trying a triathlon, you can borrow a bike, helmet etc and swim in trunks.

If youre more serious about getting into Tri as you suggest you need:

Bike (racing bike), decent entry level bikes start about £500, make sure you get a bike which fits, a good bike shope should check your dimensions to assess frame size, reach (to handlebars), saddle to crank position etc.

There's a good guide via this link:


  • Wetsuit?
  • Swimsuit/Trisuit *
  • Goggles *
  • Swim Cap – This is provided on the day and you must leave it by the pool when you get out.
  • Towel – this will be left by your bike, more on this later.


  • BIKE ! *
  • Cycling shorts/tri shorts *
  • Bike Shoes (& clipless pedals) /Trainers * (with elastic laces – more on this later)
  • Helmet *
  • Socks
  • Cycling top/Running top *
  • Sunglasses
  • Water Bottles *
  • Spare inner tube *
  • Pump *
  • Tool Kit
  • Race Belt – this is something else you should buy, very cheap and available all over the internet, its an elastic strap that you put around your waist, it has your race number pinned to it, it means that when you get on the bike the race number will be at your back and when you come in to do the run you just swing it round so that its facing forwards, saves having to pin 2 numbers to a t-shirt and hope it doesn’t come off, remember if your number comes off, you have  to re pin it, using a race belt saves that.
  • Tribars?


  • Trainers *
  • Shorts – probably the same ones you wore on the bike *
  • Top – same again *
  • Socks
  • Hat/Visor


  • Race Watch
  • Race number *
  • Race information *
  • Identification *
  • Money/Credit Card
  • Pen
  • Energy Drink *
  • Sandals

Personally I dont like the idea of the packages, are you really getting what you want or will you have to relace the lot of it quite quickly.  Do your research, buy right, buy once.

Edited: 28/08/2013 at 10:13
cougie    pirate
28/08/2013 at 10:15
What triathlons do you have planned ? Pool based or open water ? Pools are cheaper as then you don't need to buy a wetsuit.

As BB says - decent bikes start around ??500 or so but there is plenty of choice out there. I'd just go for a standard road bike rather than a full on TT machine with the flat tribars. Road bikes are better for training on and more versatile.
28/08/2013 at 19:56

Brilliant thanks, few questions below if you can help.

1. Don't I see them swim in a cut off wetsuit, cycle in same one then do the run in the same one, so just 1 outfit for all 3 disciplines? Id prefer to do that so its called a trisuite yes? Any recommended makes?

2. I presume I change from swimming to cycle gear ie put cycle shoes on at a change stage where I collect the bike yes? But when would I change from cycle shoes to trainers for running? These are all kept in a bag yes at my allocated changing points?

3. Would £500 get me a cheap carbon bike, are they better?

4. Am I best using toe clips for the bike, whats the best pedal connection to use?

5. Goggles for the swim yes or no?

6. I own a nike plus gps watch will this do instead of the garmin 910?

7. I'd like to do 1 a month if possible, the standard distance, then do an ironman last next year.

8. Can you recommend a good bike under £500?

9. Id need water bottle holder on the bike yes, what extras would I need on the bike?

10. I wont go cycling near me on roads as too dangerous so would use a turbo trainer, Halfords have one for £120, can you recommend a good turbo trainer?

11. Ive been told ill need special tyre for turbo trainer can you advise on this?

12. Any good websites or forums busy that I can get advise from thanks?

13. Id like to be competitive so want decent ish gear though  not bikes into the thousands.

14. Did you do the recent London one, that looked good, ill do that next year?

15. Which are the best brands, helmets, shoes etc?

Thanks for your help.

28/08/2013 at 19:57

Tribars are those thin bars in middle aren't they?  Do many joe public triathletes use them or just for higher end racers etc?

28/08/2013 at 20:03

Yes you can use a Tri suit for all 3 disciplines, but if the water is below a certain temp, then you'll need a wetsuit to go over the trI suit for the swim.

Goggles yes.

London Tri is a ballot entry, you may or may not get a place.

M...eldy    pirate
28/08/2013 at 20:04

Bloody hell Mark. you dont want much eh?

Start with the basics and thenmove up/upgrade if you enjoy it

You might get asecondhand carbon bike for £500 but you'd be lucky and it would have to be a reliablesource

A tri suit is not a cut off wetsuit, you can use the former in pool swims or lake swims if you are brave enough/water is warm enough

Pedal connectors - horses for courses

Best brands are the best you can afford ...

London is ok but hard to get in and there are many many more out there

Goggles yes most definitely

Turbo tyre, google 'turbo tyre' they are all much of a muchness

Good website? Whats wrong with this one ? 

28/08/2013 at 23:19

Thanks, forgot to ask whats minimum speed bike  gears figure I should be looking at?

Been told also.............

Go to your local Decathlon and try to get hold of their old red triban 3. It's
£300 and is worth double that easily. If you can't get hold of that then the new
model is probably the next best option.


cougie    pirate
29/08/2013 at 00:20
Mark - why not go watch a local triathlon and get an idea of what happens ?
M...eldy    pirate
29/08/2013 at 07:22

I'll second what Cougs said, go and get a feel for the events

All these questions as relevant as they are you are not going to remember every detail, have a check back through some of the other threads on here and get an idea ... many people will have differing opinions on different subjects

29/08/2013 at 07:29

Go to a tri shop. They will be able to give you advice and help you decide what to buy. I think you should maybe try one Tri with minimal equipment before you buy everything going... You might not like it!

seren nos    pirate
29/08/2013 at 08:30

sorry to burst your bubble mark...but you will not be in the comnpetitive end of the will be like a lot of us bringing up the rear end......

competitive bikes are those costing £5000 plus........most of us are nearer the £1000 mark.

 triathlon is a lot of money to part why not just go and enter a september sprint triathlon and do it on any old bike you can find and see what you think of it.......then with that experience and wathing others racing during the day you will have more idea on whatt questions  and answers you need

Cheerful Dave    pirate
29/08/2013 at 08:44
mark wadsworth 2 wrote (see)

Thanks, forgot to ask whats minimum speed bike  gears figure I should be looking at?

Been told also.............

Go to your local Decathlon and try to get hold of their old red triban 3. It's
£300 and is worth double that easily. If you can't get hold of that then the new
model is probably the next best option.


I'd second that, they're fantastic value, but take along someone who can help advise on the right size because a good fit is important.  You might get lucky by sitting on it in the store and telling yourself it feels OK but you might also end up with one that's you're struggling with for longer rides.

cougie    pirate
29/08/2013 at 08:55
I'd also not do the London tri. All that travel adds extra hassle and expense for you.
Stay local and then you should find it a lot easier. You can practice the routes and keep control of things much better.

Maybe in the future you might want to think about it but it's not the best race out there.
29/08/2013 at 08:56

Doesn't matter how much it costs or how many gears, if a bike doesn't fit you, it's worthless 

29/08/2013 at 14:38

Thanks, when using turbo trainers can you still measure the distance cycled?

seren nos    pirate
29/08/2013 at 14:40

I believe unless you have expensive accurate gadgets then distance and speed are not accurate.only time is accurate


But you would need to get out on the roads.otherwise how will you get the confidence and bike handling skills to do the race

29/08/2013 at 14:40

Stick the sensor for your speedo on the back wheel, or a lot of turbo's have milometers

cougie    pirate
29/08/2013 at 15:05
On a turbo you go precisely nowhere - so that's the distance travelled.

They're fine for some exercises - but as Seren says - bike control is a huge part of the event. You need to be confident to ride among cyclists and usually traffic. You need to negotiate corners and cope with wind and rain.

I could happily turn the resistance down on a turbo and smash my records but it means nothing in the real world.
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